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Mike Hammer returns in 'Lady, Go Die!'
“Extrapolating what happened in that chapter wasn't hard, because I had several subsequent chapters,” Collins said. “But Mickey is justly famous for great opening chapters, and living up to that standard was not an easy task.”
Collins worked with Spillane — who began as a writer of comics — in bringing “Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger” to comic books in the 1990s, and Collins' “Ms. Tree” comic-book series was inspired by Mike Hammer.
“The basic concept was that Mike Hammer's secretary/partner Velda — a tough, beautiful, guntoting brunette — finally marries her boss,” Collins said. “But he's murdered on their wedding night, and she takes over the agency and her husband's murder is her first case. That was the basic idea and we never strayed from it.”
Collins and artistic partner Terry Beatty (artist of the “Phantom” Sunday comic strip) may again visit the world of Ms. Tree, who last appeared in a Hard Case Crime novel in 2007.
“Terry Beatty and I are going to do a new Ms. Tree graphic novel when we can find the time,” Collins said. “ ... Also, First Comics plans to do the complete ‘Ms. Tree' in reprint collections.”
Another of Collins' best-known series, the Nate Heller historical fiction detective series, has recently been rereleased by AmazonEncore.
“In the e-books world, Heller is suddenly a star,” Heller said. Much of Collins' backlist is now available in e-book, with more coming by the end of 2012.
Nate Heller gets involved in one of the most famous crimes of the 20th Century — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — in two upcoming novels from Collins, “Target Lancer” in November, and “Ask Not,” which Collins will write later this year.
“I have a very different take on this famous case,” Collins said.